Objective: This study was designed to determine the clinical and socio economic features of breast cancer in young females aged 40 years and below treated at the Radiotherapy Department of The University College Hospital, Ibadan Nigeria.
Methods: Records of female patients treated for breast cancer from 2003 to 2006 were reviewed. Records of patients aged 40 years and below were sorted out for further review. Information not available in the records was collected during follow up visits from the patients.
Results: A total of 763 cases were evaluated out of which 221 (28.96 %) were 40 years and below. Stage 1 disease was diagnosed in 5 (2%) of the patients while 29 (13%) had stage 11 disease. Stages 111 and 1V were diagnosed in 102 (46%) and 85(39%) of the patients respectively. Invasive ductal carcinoma was the predominant histological type diagnosed in 210(95%) of the cases. Only 5(2%) of the patients had positive family history of breast cancer and 189 (85%) were income earners, out of these, 132(70%) had monthly income less than 12,500.00 Nigerian Naira (∼100USD). The number of young patients who were married was 166 (75%) but 6 (4%) of the married ones had no children while the rest had at least one child. Sexual dysfunction in form of loss of libido was recorded in 77 (46%) of the married patients. All the patients had primary school education while 188 (85%) had secondary school education or above. The only source of financial support received by all the patients towards their treatment was from relatives.
Conclusion: This study shows that we have a higher proportion of young females with breast cancer in our environment than in developed countries. Most of them present late and majority of the patients have very low income. Physicians should pay serious attention to breast lumps in young females and free health care services for these patients can promote early access to treatment.
Keywords: Breast cancer; young females.